Oil & Hurricane Season a bad mix - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil & Hurricane Season a bad mix


By Steve Phillips – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - As if the offshore oil spill isn't enough for South Mississippi residents to worry about, try adding a hurricane or tropical storm to the mix.

Tuesday marked the beginning of the six month Atlantic hurricane season, a season the experts predict will be a very busy one.

Gulf coast residents are accustomed to dealing with and preparing for hurricane season.  But the prospect of mixing a hurricane with the enormous oil slick, has plenty of folks shaking their heads.

Like it or not, we may be headed for a summer of "double trouble."

"They catch 'em every morning with the tide right now, with live shrimp about that size right there," said LaVern Dailey, when asked about the fishing forecast at the Long Beach Harbor.

The southeast corner of the harbor is a sweet spot for area fishermen, whether it's rod and reels or tossing the cast net.

"I'm trying to catch some mullet with my cast net," Dailey explained, "But they'll catch speckled trout, flounder, redfish."

He's hoping that offshore oil doesn't pollute these fishing waters but admits the combination of hurricanes and oil could be devastating.

"I hate to get a hurricane right now with all that oil out there. I think the first blocks to railroad street would probably look like a tire house," He said, shaking his head, "think it would. Yeah, I think it would really bring it in."

By mid-morning, Monroe Quinn, had already caught a cooler full of small croakers.

"They're good eating though," said the smiling fisherman, who admitted he wasn't looking forward to cleaning his catch.

He too worries about a potential hurricane-crude oil cocktail. Such a recipe could certainly foul the fishing forecast.

"Yeah, if it gets to the shores on the sand, I believe it will mess it up pretty bad. Hopefully, it won't get that far you know," Quinn said.

The prospect of a hurricane mixing with the oil spill is certainly an unwanted combination. But that concern is very much a real one as we head into this hurricane season. Especially with all the experts predicting a busier than usual season with up to 23 named storms.

"We ran cruises out to Cat Island from here in Long Beach Harbor," said boat Captain Eric Fulton, standing beside the 34 foot charter boat.

Now this charter boat works for BP; checking on oil booms around the barrier island. The boat captain is also well aware of hurricane season.

"I'm sure my worries are exactly the same as everyone else around here. If that oil gets up here on the shore, it's going to be ten times as bad to clean up and it's just going to be devastating," said Fulton.

With most people we talked with Tuesday, it's the uncertainty that's most frustrating.

They know how to prepare and deal with hurricanes; that's an unfortunate reality that comes with living on the Gulf Coast. But the oil spill is something completely different and something that could be devastating if mixed with a hurricane.

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